Results for ‘The White Land’ – Religious building design competition announced.

January 26 19:30 2022
The International Architecture competition was about recreating tent housing for hajj pilgrims in the city of Mina.

The city of Mecca is considered the birthplace of the Prophet, and also the place where he received the message of Islam, which transformed Mecca into the holiest city in the Islamic world. Mecca (present-day Saudi Arabia) has been a sacred site since ancient times, it even served as a site of pilgrimage for the Arabs tribes of central and North Arabia. Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, which every Muslim is expected to visit at least once in their lifetime if they can. It is a religious duty that is central to the Muslim belief and is one of the Five pillars of Islam. 

The Saudi government has an ambitious plan for the Vision 2030 agenda. The vision has several important thrust areas including making Saudi Arabia a major trade and cultural intersection between the west and east worlds. This document details the entire vision. This vision not only expands the lengths and breadths of inclusivity and advancement but also looks at expanding the Hajj pilgrim bandwidth to more than 10 million pilgrims. The goals here are not only quantitative but qualitative as well. 

With rising pilgrims, a lot of Hajj facilities are being expanded to accommodate this new growth of visitors and provide them with clean, healthy experiences. Several upgrades have already rolled in (Like mosque expansion and transportation upgrades) to meet these expectations. 

The question however is, are all parts of the journey ready for this growth?

Present-day Mina serves for 5-6 days of every year continuously. It hosts almost 100,000 tents, with increasing numbers of pilgrims each year. The tents create an entire settlement on land that remains deserted the other time of the year. Can there be a better alternative to the current systems of tent-based housing with a more comprehensive solution? If horizontally the tent city is landlocked; can we see a new realm of vertical space making? Can covid-19 concerns and such medical emergencies be worked upon for healthy living for the elderly? With such a huge surge, taking the elderly population coming in from various walks of life and educational backgrounds, how can we ensure safe crowd management for Hajj pilgrims when the capacity rises manifold in the coming decades?

The design challenge was to conceive a modular solution for housing Hajj pilgrims in the city of Mina.

The stay duration was aimed at 6 days of air-cooled living, cost-effective, fireproof, hygienic, and incremental to begin with and could go as much as elevating pilgrim experience with whichever means found imperative.

The jury for the competition consisted of esteemed designers, professionals and academicians from around the world. The Lead Jurors for the competitions were as follows: 

Ibrahim Joharji, Founder, INJ Architects, Saudi Arabia

Walaiporn Nakapan, Architect/Computational Designer, Thailand

Ala Hason, Principal, Director of the MENA Region, HKS Architects, Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Mohamed Al Assam, Founder and Executive Chairman, Dewan Architects + Engineers, Dubai, UAE

Diego Martin Aceto, Arquitecto, Estudio Arqtipo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Martin Pool, Partner, Pool Leber Architekten, Germany

Some of the Best of competition projects as follows:


By: Adam Yuraselan, Iqbal Hashim, Salehin Ks & Ismail Rahim

Description: Wadi Mina’s House of Respite offers comfortable lodgings for the pilgrim jamaah around the Day of Arafah and Jumrah stonings. This will be the place where the pilgrim jamaah can seek refuge. It is in the House of Respite that their individual needs and ibadah can be performed within their private space.

Runner – Up: The Viable Mina

By: Kawar Salih, Suzan Saddun, Zaid OSaeed & Alaa Kadhim

Description: Mina is part of the most prominent religious gathering in the world which is Haj. The first questions that come to mind while designing the project are how to create an executable module, hygienic, and crowd controllable. Other dimensions in the project are also necessary to consider, such as religious, cultural, sustainable, functional, and aesthetical.

Honorable Mention: DAR SALAM

By: Zaid OSaeed, Kawar Salih, Yuser Abdulmunim & Marwa Aram

Description: The proposal envisions the future of Mina region in alignment with the 2030 vision of the Saudi Arabia government to develop the Haj experience.

People’s Choice: The Hajj Eco-Tent

By: Riham Faragallah

Description: The Hajj eco-tent is a promising future experience for pilgrims that visit Mina city through the design of a comfortable multifunctional living module applying different environmental treatments and hygienic precautions to avoid the spread of COVID-19 which makes Mina city ready for the growth of pilgrims in the future.

Editor’s Choice: REVISITING MINA                  

By: Muhammad Danish

Description: The main idea behind revisiting MINA is to give a feeling of connection of MINA with KABAH through a tent to elevate the experience of Hajj to another level. Mina is the place where Prophet Ibrahim fulfilled his dream of sacrificing his son Ismail. Staying in mina is a part of Haj and all the activities of haj are done While staying in Mina. Therefor it plays major role in performing Huj.

Editor’s Choice: The White Modules

 By: Renato Peron & Daniel Mosca

Description: The design challenge is to conceive a modular solution to host Hajj pilgrims in the city of Mina. The modular structure allows you to optimize spaces and, in this case, with the creation of two-storey buildings, it gives the possibility to accommodate a greater number of users, offering them greater comfort.

Editor’s Choice: Mina’s Revival

By: Mina’s Revival & Siyue Hu

Description: Located in The Mina Tent City, next to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, the project is a place to house pilgrims during the Islamic Hajj pilgrimage.

Checkout the top entries here.

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